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In brief

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) federal-level financial services regulator relevant to securities, commodities and now Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs), the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), has just issued two new regulations relevant to Virtual Assets (VAs):

  1. SCA Chairman of the Board of Directors’ Decision No. (26/RM) of 2023 in relation to Virtual Assets Platform Operators (“SCA VA Exchange Regulations“).
  2. SCA Chairman of the Board of Directors’ Decision No. (27/RM) of 2023 amending SCA Chairman of the Board of Directors’ Decision No. (13/RM) of 2021 in relation to the SCA Rulebook (“SCA Rulebook Amendments Regulations“).

This follows the end of the grace period under UAE Cabinet Resolution 111 (that ended on 14 September 2023) for those conducting VASP activities within Onshore UAE (see Annex) to register with the SCA.

Both the SCA VA Exchange Regulations and the SCA Rulebook Amendments Regulations (together “New SCA Regulations“) are only currently available in Arabic (which is the official and authoritative version of the regulations). As such, all English translations of provisions mentioned herein are the unofficial Baker McKenzie English translations of the authors. SCA’s own unofficial English language translations of the New SCA Regulations will likely be available in due course.

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Mazen has over 22 years’ experience in banking and finance law in the Middle East and has practiced in the UAE for more than nine years. He is a certified Professional Director from the Mudara-Institute of Directors and is a member of the UK Securities Industry Management Association (SIMA). He has also been awarded the CISI Level 3 Certificate in Derivatives, Securities and Financial Regulations, and Financial Regulations, and the Islamic Finance Qualifications (IFQ) and is a certified Basel III professional (2011) and DIAC qualified arbitrator as well as a registered practitioner before the DIFC courts. In 2012, Mazen was appointed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as a short term consultant to advise on UAE legislative matters in relation to security laws.


Samir is an English qualified Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales and a registered Legal Adviser with the Dubai Government Legal Affairs Department. He is a counsel in the Firm’s Financial Regulatory and Investigations, Compliance & Ethics (IC&E) practices based in Dubai as well as FinTech and AI lead in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with ten years’ experience in the region.

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